TPOP is a typical "how to be a good programmer" book, somewhat similar to Code Complete, with a little bit of Programming Pearls mixed in. What really sets it apart, IMHO, is its authors - the combined rep of Brian Kernighan and Rob Pike is very hard to beat!

I'm saying it's similar to Code Complete because mostly the same subjects are covered, just in much less length. Programming style, algorithms, interfaces, debugging, testing, portability and other subjects are covered in a light and flowing manner. The advice given is solid, the examples are relevant and interesting and valuable insights are shared. This isn't the first time the book falls into my hands (I flipped through it a few years ago) and I still found it very interesting.

Any programmer should read at least one book like TPOP. In addition to learning one's languages and environments, it's very valuable to read something about the process (or practice) of programming as well. For this purpose, something short and lightweight like TPOP or The Pragmatic Programmer is recommended. Tackling an encyclopedia like Code Complete is a feat for the most hard-core fans of the trade only.

The only criticism of TPOP is that it feels a bit dated, although written only 10 years ago. I think that the age of the authors shows - they are around since the early days of C and Unix, back when Awk was the coolest kid on the block. Sure, they mix some C-ish Java code in for the hype, but the book still feels like something written in the 70s.

All in all though, I do recommend it.


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